Your MGCC club has some very knowledgable minds amongst its membership. Here is a very fine example on how to understand Intervals by Trevor Connor (brother of Greg and Uncle to Cam) as published in VeloNews today......
To make sure you have enough left in the tank for the finishing sprint, it's important to understand interval training.
My friend didn’t know what to expect. He had just arrived in California, and while the weather was great, it was the company that scared him. It was his first ride with Levi Leipheimer and he prayed he’d be able to keep up. They were soon riding the hilly Northern California landscape. My friend, an accomplished mountain biker, was happy to see that he could hang with Leipheimer on the climbs, even if he was at his limit. For two hours they explored back roads while he wondered why their workout was so undirected. Eventually they stopped. With a smile, Leipheimer said, “Thanks for the ride, I have to go do my intervals now.” Just one sentence and my friend learned what being a Tour de France contender meant. The workout hadn’t been undirected. It was just the warm-up.
For those of us looking to optimize our performance, the days of purely undirected rides are behind us. As Robert Pickels, an exercise physiologist at the renowned Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, explains it, “By focusing on specific workouts, you have a much better sense of what you have done, what you need to do and how to recover.”
While a quick Google search will bring up hundreds of interval options, they too often just list times and zones. There’s a lot more to it if you want to make your intervals truly effective. So, let’s look at how to optimize your intervals.
Back to basics: Aerobic vs. anaerobicVince Lombardi was famous for starting team talks with the line, “This is a football.” The message was clear: never forget the basics. The same philosophy applies to cycling. We have two ways of producing energy: aerobic work requires oxygen and doesn’t fatigue easily; anaerobic work is fast, strong, doesn’t require oxygen and doesn’t last very long.
Almost all interval work targets one aspect of these two energy systems. Effective intervals aren’t about just going hard or riding in zone “X.” Effective intervals are about optimally stressing one of our energy pathways. As Pickels puts it, “There’s a difference between working hard and achieving a big number. If you’re working hard, but your power is going down, you’re not necessarily getting the benefit.”
Aerobic power: Be mindful of the deficitYou’re out for a ride with a few friends. You hit that steep climb and suddenly the competitive fire has you setting all new power records. Yet minutes pass before your heart rate catches up with how you feel. Our aerobic system is sluggish. It takes time for aerobic pathways to respond to an increase in work. Until it does, we rely on anaerobic metabolism for our energy. This effect is called oxygen deficit; with an increase in intensity we initially rely on anaerobic metabolism to meet the increased energy demands. According to Pickels, “People might think of the oxygen deficit but not ever call it by name, or recognize that that’s the component they are trying to increase or decrease in a given workout.”
Oxygen deficit can be critical in effectively targeting your intervals. Being in oxygen deficit generally means your aerobic system is not being fully stressed. If you are doing purely aerobic-focused work such as threshold intervals and you spend the majority of the time in deficit, your power numbers might be great, but your workout wasn’t. On the flip side, intervals targeting your anaerobic system should maximize oxygen deficit.
Anaerobic power: The big spenderThink of the fastest anaerobic animal on the planet, the cheetah, capable of running at 70 mph. Now think about what it’s doing when it’s not hunting down some slower prey — it’s laying around. We can produce a lot of anaerobic power, very fast, but it doesn’t last long and it takes time to recharge. While you have to do work to activate aerobic pathways, the best way to prepare for anaerobic work is to do nothing.
The box below gives suggestions on how to approach the different types of intervals, but in selecting which ones you should do, remember, if you want to achieve optimal performance you have to start with an understanding of yourself. As Pickels said, “The interval workout really needs to be designed based on what your goals are, what your weaknesses are, and what you need to achieve with your upcoming performances.”
Maximizing your intervalsAerobic intervals
Intervals that improve your sustainable aerobic power, such as threshold intervals, are some of the most important work a cyclist can do. These intervals are generally five to 15 minutes at your threshold heart rate/power. Also popular are VO2 max intervals, which are one to four minutes at slightly above threshold. They force normally anaerobic muscle fibers to work more aerobically. The key point: aerobic intervals are most effective when oxygen deficit is minimized. Here are tips on how to do that:
Fortunately, the aerobic system is as slow shutting down as it is starting up. As a result, prior intervals create a “priming” effect that reduces oxygen deficit in subsequent intervals, provided the recovery length is short enough. For threshold intervals, recoveries of 1-3 minutes are optimal to ensure some recovery while limiting oxygen deficit.
Get a good warm-up
Even getting the aerobic system primed at low intensities takes time. Give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes of easy to tempo riding before starting your threshold work.
The first interval is a throwaway
While you can put out your best watts in your first threshold interval, it’s because of your heavy reliance on anaerobic energy. In terms of training, most of that interval is spent in deficit. It’s the later intervals where you produce your best training stimulus. So, don’t hammer the first interval. All you’ll do is reduce the quality of the intervals that count.
I’ve seen many riders start strong and get slower with each interval. That’s because their anaerobic reserves are depleting and they never fully utilize their aerobic system. Make sure your intervals are a consistent intensity. Target the exact same wattage or pace (on a flat road) for each. Done correctly, the first interval should feel hard, but not unbearable, and your heart rate will be a little below your threshold. By the final interval you should struggle to maintain pace.
What should you do in the recovery periods?
Keep the legs spinning between threshold intervals. This will keep the aerobic system primed. Active recovery will also aid lactate clearance.
While cycling is an aerobic sport, anaerobic power can still be the difference between a podium and middle of the pack at the end of a race. Sprint intervals are the best means of training anaerobic power.
Says Pickels: “If you’re trying to achieve those high powers, you need long recoveries. Accumulating oxygen debt is going to destroy that high power. There’s no point doing a sprint workout if you hit 1,000 watts and then 800 watts, and then 600 watts.” Recoveries should be as long as four or five minutes between sprints to recharge your anaerobic pathways.
Recovery means rest
Watch track sprinters train and you’ll see them spend lots of time sitting around. Letting your anaerobic system recharge for the next interval means doing as little as possible with your legs. Get off the bike and sit if you have to.
Keep the workout short to stay anaerobically focused
Limit your warm-up to 10-15 minutes and go home as soon as you’re done with your intervals. The entire workout should be around an hour at the most.
The secret weapon: Training the deficit
There’s 20 minutes left in the race. Someone just attacked and you have to sprint to catch on. But then a precious few seconds later another attack goes up the road. We’ve all been there. Spend too much of that last 20 minutes in deficit and you’re in trouble. Fortunately oxygen deficit, like most systems, can be trained if it’s stressed. “Training oxygen deficit is the thing that a lot of people are going for now and seeing huge increases not only in VO2 max, but in submaximal performance as well,” said Pickels.
Short efforts and short recoveries
To maximize the oxygen deficit, efforts need to be short and all-out, generally 20 to 30 seconds. However, the recoveries need to be equally short to prevent anaerobic pathways from recharging. Common intervals are six to 12 repetitions of 30-30s (thirty seconds on, thirty seconds off) and 20-10s.
Trevor Connor is a long-time cycling coach and researches both exercise physiology and nutrition at Colorado State University.
Read more at http://velonews.competitor.com/2014/03/training/training-optimizing-interval-workouts-using-oxygen-deficit_321186#TyLl2zTIFClmCAYB.99
MGCC is very excited to let you know about three opportunities to join your fellow members on a great cycling trip. We've got trips planned to:
FOUNTAIN HILLS, ARIZONA | February 22 to 27, 2014
This trip is in partnership with Real Deal Racing.
Cost: $599 for double occupancy, $899 for single occupancy
Read here for all the details!
BOONE, NORTH CAROLINA | April 30 to May 4, 2014
This trip is in partnership with High Country Endurance.
Cost: $1,480 (includes all costs, taxes and gratuity)
Read here for all the details!
LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK | LADIES ONLY | May 28 to June 1, 2014
This trip is in partnership with High Peaks Cyclery.
Read here for all the details!
**Please note that all costs do not include transportation to and from destination.
The Col Du Brimley was kinder as far as the weather was concerned for the 2nd BITT (Brimley Individual Time Trial) of 2013
Kudos to those that came out and congrats to all the members who participated, see the results below.......
While in North Carolina we trained and rode with Max Shute from Max Shute cycling camps in Boone North Carolina.
Is anyone else getting tired of this weather???? COME ON NOW – it’s a good thing we have soooooooooooooooooooo much fun in our AM gatherings.
We are a GO for a spin tomorrow morning.
1’C, clear, dry, and very crisp is the call.
540AM at our Loblaws.
ALSO CHECK OUT MGRIDETORONTO ON FACEBOOK.
These two spots are a place to go for all things cycling. Check out the Blog, the weekly Yellow Jersey Winner (could be you), twitter, YouTube, and every other posting you can think of. This website, along with our Facebook fan page, will be used to promote our cycling community, share ideas, thoughts, and everybody’s passion for this two wheeled adventure.
If you have any questions or comments on all of this, please let me know.
See you in the morning.
Now that we have the site live and are starting to see people following us I thought I would give a big shout out to one of the most friendly and happy cyclists in our early morning peloton.
Angus Warner joined our group last year when he was riding solo heading north on Bayview at around 5:30 am. Angus happened to cross paths with Fraser on his way to our meeting spot and in true Chapman style Angus suddenly found himself invited to ride with the group. I don't know if Angus knew what he was getting himself into but this guy has stuck to it and is now a true regular on our MG rides.
I think this story says a lot about the group of people who we ride with, we really are a community, we are welcoming to everyone who wants to get up early in the am and get their ride in early in the day. Not only that but riding in a group like this is really really effective. Like many of us Angus has gained so much strength and we've all noticed how much stronger he is getting. So much so that Angus finds himself amongst this years Yellow Jersey winners, he's riding like a superstar and its only April.
Great work Angus!!, can't wait to see you on your new BMC SLX-01, its going to be FAST!!!!
So to everyone who's thinking of joining our group, do it, don't wait till next week or till it gets warm out come and ride with us and watch yourself get stronger with every kilometer you're on the bike!!!
See you on the road - tomorrow 5:40 am, Bridal Path Burner!!!
So I'm just back from the last official indoor MG ride for the season, it was another huge effort on a course that looked like a pyramid so much fun!!
On a positive note looking around the room all the cyclists were posting numbers that were significantly higher today than they've been all season, its so good when you start to see all your hard work paying off.
MG Ride Toronto has been meeting every wednesday since November to prepare for when our Canadian weather lets us get back out onto the road, its been really tough getting up at 4:40 am to make it in time for the 5:30 start but WOW its been worth the effort. The benefits of riding indoors are tremendous, I can honestly say that this workout is by far the hardest day of my fitness routine every week, it rivals racing crits in its intensity and it helps you increase your power output so that when you finally get onto the road and have the added benefit of gravity and draft you recover more quickly and you have more power to put into your pedals when you need to.
Lastly, a couple of big THANK YOU's
1. I'd like to thank Bob @ Watts up for being there every week - you've taken tremendous care of us, everything from making sure we have water to the angle of our fans - our needs were met and I do know that 4:30 am isn't your "normal" wake up time - thanks Bob
2. Fraser - thanks for coordinating this with the guys @ Watts Up, certainly your enthusiasm put this weekly training session together, greatly appreciated.
3. To all the guys who were there every week: Kevin, Shannon, Angus, Nick, Dan, Jason, Andrew, Duncan, Craig, Dave, Todd, Gary, you guys are the reason that the MG ride is so much fun! its motivating to know that if I don't show up I'll be hearing from at least one of you about it, we keep each other accountable and it goes a long way towards our training - GREAT WORK from all of you - I can't wait to see the pay off on the road!!!
Just got back from our weekly Wednesday morning sufferfest at Watts Up Cycling. 10 guys showed up for the hour and 20 minute indoor ride. We've been coming together as a group every wednesday since November to put in a solid hour on the bike. I can't believe the impact it is having on everyones power.
Special mention goes out to Dave Newall he put in a PB on the hour of effort and was still looking fresh at the end, he's going to be very quick this summer.
I should also mention Angus Botterell who we've seen wearing the Yellow Jersey a number of times this winter, he is obviously putting in alot of time on the trainer and it shows, his power is steadily improving!!
Finally, today we had Scott Judges of Fitt 1st who came out and took video of us on our bikes, his feedback is going to be amazing and will hopefully improve both our comfort and our power on the bikes.
Great ride today guys!!!